"We have asked the state governments to come up with proposals for implementing the universal healthcare in one district," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said at a conference on the future of healthcare in India. (Agencies)
As the cost of proposed healthcare system has not been assessed, the states should implement it on experimental basis and come up with the suggestions to improve it, he said, adding: "I believe that health ministry has received recommendations from the states on resources needed".
The 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) seeks to work towards the long term objective of establishing a system of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to strengthen healthcare services.
The Plan envisages that each individual has assured access to a defined essential range of medicines and treatment at an affordable price.
Under the UHC, citizens will be covered by a health package that has a choice of facilities that are guaranteed by the government. The package will cover, free-of-charge, all primary, secondary and some tertiary care services.
Ahluwalia said health professionals have raised concerns over the National Health Insurance Scheme which provides cashless facility for medical treatment. "...unless this is regulated very strictly there will be tremendous incentive to over-prescribe and undertake unnecessary procedures."
Highlighting the shortage of healthcare workers, Ahluwalia said that practitioners of traditional medicines can be provided training so as to prescribe allopathic drugs.
Practitioners of traditional medicines are actively present in rural areas and some activists suggest that they can be trained to allow them make prescription of antibiotic and other drugs.
"If you do that it will create huge mobilisation of resources in rural areas," he said, adding that "present situation is we may group in the public health system for practitioners of traditional medicine to practice traditional medicine."
Asking the states to spend more on healthcare services, he said health is a state subject while the role of the central government is to create more facilities for medical education. "As I experience, the central government provides more (funds) and state governments provide less," he said.
"We have asked the state governments to come up with proposals for implementing the universal healthcare in one district," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said at a conference on the future of healthcare in India.